Advocacy Virginia Garcia's Commitment

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, the largest community health center serving Washington and Yamhill counties, understands the importance of advocacy at the local, state, and federal level. 

  • National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) as an Advocacy Center of Excellence, Silver Level


Public Charge

A new policy has been proposed that will impact the health and well-being of all immigrants. The policy is known as Public Charge. Below are a few critical details to know.

What is public charge?

A Public Charge is an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.

What is changing about the qualification?

When an individual applies for Lawful Permanent Residency status (aka a “Green Card”), the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) evaluates whether he or she has used – or is likely to use –  certain public benefits that could make them a public charge.  If so, this is a “heavily weighted negative factor” against the applicant’s request.  In this proposed regulation, the Administration is proposing to significantly expand the list of programs that USCIS must consider when determining if an immigrant is a public charge.

Under the Administration’s proposal, what additional programs would be considered when determining if an immigrant is a public charge?

Non-emergency Medicaid (with limited exceptions), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Housing support (e.g., Section 8 vouchers, public housing), Medicare Part D subsidies. As of yet, the Administration has not yet decided whether to add CHIP to this list.

How would immigrant families be impacted by the new regulation?

If finalized, the regulation would chill access to critical programs that help immigrants and their families access health care, food, and other essentials. These programs have improved participants’ health, wellbeing, school success, and economic security. The proposal would make—and has already made—immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support basic needs. One in four children have at least one immigrant parent. This issue touches millions, making it critical now and for our nation’s future. How you live your life and contribute to your community should define you in this country, not how you look or how much money you have. New immigrants who work hard to make life better for themselves and for those who come here bring new ideas and new energy to our nation. It is important to note that some groups of immigrants—such as refugees, asylees, group are not subject to public charge determinations, and charge is also not a consideration when lawful permanent residents (green card holders) apply to become U.S. citizens.

What happens next?

The proposed rule was  officially published in the Federal Register and the public was able to submit comments for 60 days. After reviewing all public comments and making any changes it deems appropriate, the Administration will issue a Final Rule, which will go into effect 60 days after being published.  In the meantime, and until a final rule is in effect, federal officials will continue to apply the current public charge policy.


It is important that everyone have a firm understanding of their rights. Below are articles and links to information and resources that will help you stay up-to-date on current events and activities.

How to Be Prepared for an Immigration Raid

For more resources, visit our Health Care Matters page. Given increased enforcement activity in recent months by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ... Read More

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is still valid. It's difficult to predict how and when... Read More

Ways to Get Involved

Additional resources:
Immigration Counseling Service (ICS)



519 SW Park Ave., Ste. 610
Portland, OR 97205

Lutheran Community Services Northwest


605 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Portland, OR 97214
Tel: 503.731.9539
Fax: 503.233.0667

Programs offered: Asylum, Unaccompanied Minor, Cancellation
Languages: English & Español

3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Suite 288
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: 503.924.2448

Programs Offered: Immigration Counseling and Advocacy Program; Multicultural Counseling Services

435 NE Evans, Suite A
McMinnville, OR 97128
Phone: 503.472.020

Programs Offered: A Family Place Relief Nursery, Collaborative Home Services, Counseling Programs, Family Support and Connections, Healthy Families of Yamhill County, Healthy Relationships, Immigration Counseling and Advocacy, In-Home Safety and Reunification Services, Parent Education Classes, Safe Families for Child

Other Links and Relevant Information

  • The Latino Network provides information for members of the community.

  • The National Immigration Law Center provides important information on immigration rights and is dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.

  • The ILRC (Immigrant Legal Resource Center) offers free "red cards" (know your rights cards), that can be ordered from the email provided on their website.  Here is the direct link to ordering the cards.

Statement of Nonpartisanship

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center (VGMHC) is a private, nonprofit organization recognized as exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. VGMHC’s mission is to provide high quality, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill counties with a special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farm workers and others with barriers to receiving health care.

VGMHC may take positions on or advocate with regard to public policy issues pertinent to its mission, consistent with the requirements of applicable Federal and Oregon law. However, VGMHC conducts all of its activities in an entirely nonpartisan manner. VGMHC may acknowledge the elected officials who support us, but we do not endorse, support, or oppose candidates for public office, nor do we intervene in any election on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate or political party.

Additional questions can be directed to Felicita Monteblanco, Policy and Advocacy Officer at 503.214.1650

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center